Our Enemies Will Vanish: The Russian Invasion and Ukraine's War of Independence (Hardcover)
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“Our Enemies Will Vanish achieves the highest level of war reporting: a tough, detailed account that nevertheless reads like a great novel. One is reminded of Michael Herr's Dispatches . . . Frankly, it's what we have all aspired to. I did not really understand Ukraine until I read Trofimov's account.” —Sebastian Junger
A revelatory eyewitness account of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and heroism of the Ukrainian people in their resistance by Yaroslav Trofimov, the Ukrainian chief foreign-affairs correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Yaroslav Trofimov has spent months on end at the heart of the conflict, very often on its front lines. In this authoritative account, he traces the war’s decisive moments—from the battle for Kyiv to more recently the gruelling and bloody arm wrestle involving the Wagner group over Bakhmut—to show how Ukraine and its allies have turned the tide against Russia, one of the world’s great military powers, in a modern-day battle of David and Goliath. Putin had intended to conquer and annex Ukraine with a vicious blitzkrieg, redrawing the map of Europe in a few short weeks with seismic geopolitical consequences. But in the face of this existential threat, the Ukrainian people fought back, turning what looked like certain defeat into a great moral victory, even as the territorial battle continues to seesaw to this day. This is the story of the epic bravery of the Ukrainian people—people Trofimov knows very well.
For Trofimov, this war is deeply personal. He grew up in Kyiv and his family has lived there for generations. With deep empathy and local understanding, Trofimov tells the story of how everyday Ukrainian citizens—doctors, computer programmers, businesspeople, and schoolteachers—risked their lives and lost loved ones. He blends their brave and tragic stories with expert military analysis, providing unique insight into the thinking of Ukrainian leadership and mapping out the decisive stages of what has become a perilous war for Ukraine, the Putin regime, and indeed, the world.
This brutal, catastrophic struggle is unfolding on another continent, but the United States and its NATO allies have become deeply implicated. As the war drags on, it threatens to engulf the world. We cannot look away. At once heart-breaking and inspiring, Our Enemies Will Vanish is a riveting, vivid, and first-hand account of the Ukrainian refusal to surrender. It is the story of ordinary people fighting not just for their homes and their families but for justice and democracy itself.
About the Author
Yaroslav Trofimov is the chief foreign-affairs correspondent of The Wall Street Journal and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting for two consecutive years, in 2022 and 2023. Before covering the Russian war on Ukraine, he reported on most major conflicts of the past two decades, serving as the Journal’s bureau chief in Afghanistan and Pakistan and as a correspondent in Iraq. He holds an MA from New York University and is the author of two critically acclaimed books, Faith at War and The Siege of Mecca.
"A kind of cinema verité on the page, an account of the war that’s as close as one can get to that first draft of history as it’s spoken by those who experienced the events. . . . Trofimov has collected a chorus of voices that add up to the truest first draft I have yet to read of the first chaotic year. Like those soldiers breathlessly recounting the just-fought battle, he’s helped us make sense of one of the grimmest wars of our time." —Elliot Ackerman, The Atlantic
“Our Enemies Will Vanish is clearly not an outsider’s account, though as an experienced reporter, Trofimov mostly avoids the twin temptations of personalizing and pontificating, instead hewing closely to what he sees . . . It’s a sober, plain-spoken assessment that doesn’t tell us all that much—which is also what makes it honest.” —Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times
“Captures some of the most difficult, gruesome stories of the war . . . Trofimov's panorama of a rapidly mobilized country is part war correspondence, part road trip. Those details are so intense that they sharpen everything around them. You can practically taste the gas station hot dogs and Lavazza espressos, or the negronis Trofimov can sometimes find at a hotel bar.” —Washington Post
“Trofimov’s book is a comprehensive account of the startling and heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people . . . [it] catalogues, in a quietly devastating way, the sheer human cost of the war.” —National Review
“This tour de force covers the first year of war in Ukraine and a solid second draft of history, as the author intended. We can hope for a second volume that will be the last, chronicling a truly independent Ukraine." —Booklist (starred review)
“[A] comprehensive and harrowing eyewitness report on the war in Ukraine that focuses on the heroism of the country’s civilians and soldiers. . . . Readers seeking a blow-by-blow account of the war will want to take a look.” —Publisher's Weekly
“Terrific on-the-ground reportage.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“A fast-paced, witness narrative of the war's first year, perceptive in its accounts of Russian overconfidence and the inventive, makeshift ways in which Ukrainians—professional soldiers, volunteers and civilians alike—fought back against a larger force invading on three fronts.” —Financial Times
“A deft, skilled account of the first year of the conflict that mixes the panache of first-hand witness with retrospective analysis and interviews with politicians and generals. At home in the bleak, shell-broken 'grey zone' of the Ukrainian frontlines as well as the halls of power, few correspondents are as well placed as Trofimov to cover this conflict . . . He was born and brought up in Kyiv, which gives his writing a depth of insight and an edge of righteous heat.” —The Times
“Our Enemies Will Vanish achieves the highest level of war reporting: a tough, detailed account that nevertheless reads like a great novel. One is reminded of Michael Herr's Dispatches or the best work that came out of Bosnia in the 1990s; frankly, it's what we have all aspired to. I did not really understand Ukraine until I read Trofimov's account, and now I am even more convinced that the world must stand behind Ukraine and every other democracy fighting for survival.” —Sebastian Junger, New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Storm and War
“Humane, informed, and reliable, this account of the first year of Russia’s war on Ukraine will be read by all who wish to understand this defining event of our time.” —Timothy Snyder, New York Times bestselling author of On Tyranny
“Our Enemies Will Vanish is a stunning work of eyewitness reportage and literary nuance that brings alive both the brutalities of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the war’s small absurdities and comic interludes. Only a Ukrainian native with Trofimov’s wide experience of covering war could have delivered such a clear-eyed and memorable book—an instant classic.” —Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Ghost Wars and Directorate S.
“His extraordinarily brave reporting, exceptionally clear writing and unusually trenchant analysis have made Yaroslav Trofimov one of the most important journalists covering the war in Ukraine—and now his book will become an essential first draft of the history of the war.” —Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Twilight of Democracy
“Yaroslav Trofimov has been reporting courageously and tirelessly on the Russian invasion of Ukraine since its beginning. With Our Enemies Will Vanish, Trofimov marshals his unrivaled experience and knowledge to offer the most comprehensive, authoritative book on the war to date. From the frontlines of the Donbas to the presidential headquarters in Kyiv, Trofimov chronicles an epic story of national tragedy, heroism, and resistance that is as edifying as it is moving. Required reading for anyone trying to understand this historic conflict.” —Luke Mogelson, author of The Storm is Here
“Whatever happens, the world will always recall the resourcefulness and bravery of the Ukrainian people in defending their nation against overwhelming odds. In this gripping and lucid account, Trofimov bears witness to the war ravaging his homeland. Our Enemies Will Vanish is an unputdownable book about an unforgettable piece of modern history.” —Jon Lee Anderson, bestselling author of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life
“Few have matched the depth and breadth of Trofimov’s reporting on the war. Our Enemies Will Vanish is a gripping read that meticulously lays out what’s at stake in Ukraine. But it’s the vivid detail and keen observations, combined with Trofimov's deep knowledge of Ukraine's history and language, that make the book essential reading.” —Clarissa Ward, author of On All Fronts
“The war in Ukraine is the biggest story of our time, and no one has covered it better than Yaroslav Trofimov. This is the story of the invasion itself, brought to life by his relentless reporting and vivid prose. It's an essential document for our times.” —Dexter Filkins, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Forever War
“An outstanding, breath-taking and authoritative account of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Trofimov is renowned as one of the great journalists of our time; and this account shows why.” —Peter Frankopan, New York Times bestselling author of The Silk Roads and The Earth Transformed
“We don’t know how this war will end, but if you want to know how Ukraine survived its early chaotic days—and endured—then read this book. Our Enemies Will Vanish takes the reader from the corridors of power to frontline trenches while documenting the brutality and terror endured by Ukrainians forces to flee, and those who remained. It charts too, in hair-raising detail, the danger and determination of a dynamic trio, correspondent Trofimov, his photographer Manu Brabo and security adviser Stevo Stephen as they race from frontline to frontline in a rapidly changing war. Yaroslav Trofimov’s gripping account is full of crisp details and contains a deep visceral understanding of Ukraine and a nation’s—his nation’s—struggle for survival.” —Quentin Sommerville, Middle East Correspondent for the BBC
“A highly readable, authoritative, firsthand account of the first year of the war . . . For those of us who have read Ukraine news daily for the last two years, Trofimov's book offers eureka moments, in which readers exclaim, 'So that was what was really going on.'” —New York Sun
“Told with empathy and sensitivity, the story is both heartbreaking and inspiring.” —Christian Science Monitor
“Trofimov is not the kind of foreign correspondent who drops into a country and only interacts with a few English-speaking elites. Since Russia’s initial February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, he has immersed himself in the experiences of everyday people . . . Trofimov’s writing in Our Enemies Will Vanish is lucid, vivid and memorable. His book puts a human face on news that can, in its raw brutality, often feel dehumanizing.” —American Purpose